Details on article

Id 188
Author Backman, M., ; Nilsson, P.,
Title The role of cultural heritage in attracting skilled individuals

Backman, M., Nilsson, P. (2016). The role of cultural heritage in attracting skilled individuals. Journal of Cultural Economics, 42: 111‑138.

Keywords Built heritages; Human capital; Regional growth; Multilevel; Attracting skilled labor
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Abstract The purpose of this paper is to examine the role played by built heritages and cultural environments, alongside other locational factors, in explaining the growth of human capital in Sweden. We distinguish between urban, natural and cultural qualities as different sources of regional attractiveness and estimate their influence on the observed growth of individuals with at least three years of higher education during 2001–2010. Neighborhood-level data are used, and unobserved heterogeneity and spatial dependencies are modeled by employing random effects estimations and an instrumental variable approach. Our findings indicate that the local supply of built heritages and cultural environments explain a significant part of human capital growth in Sweden. Results suggest that these types of cultural heritages are important place-based resources with a potential to contribute to improved regional attractiveness and growth.

Metodology In order to address the role played by cultural heritage in attracting human capital, the empirical approach is to estimate a growth equation with change in the number of highly educated individuals as the dependent variable. In this paper, the authors follow the educational approach and measure human capital in terms of individuals with at least three years of higher education. The authors measure growth in the level of human capital for two different time periods, the change between 2001 and 2006 or 2010. To address effects that are locally bounded, they use neighborhoods (Small Areas for Market Statistics, SAMS) as the unit of analysis. Data from three geocoded databases are used to create measures that reflect educational infrastructure, industrial composition and the supply of different types of amenities at the neighborhood level. The amenity variables in focus are the ones that reflect local supply of cultural heritages and include built heritages and cultural environments. The variable in focus is the total number of registered built heritages and cultural environments in each neighborhood (SAMS) constructed using spatial joins (in ArcView).

Findings Findings indicate that several local level predictors play an important role in explaining growth in human capital. Particularly, authors find that the regional ability to attract high-human-capital individuals is positively related to both demand and supply factors in terms of agglomeration externalities and the presence of institutions for higher education. They also find that human-capital growth is a function of labor market characteristics in terms of the share of firms (KIBS and HTMF) that demand highskilled labor. Alongside these traditional factors, authors also find that there are some natural and cultural qualities that are positively associated with growth in human capital. The local supply of built heritages (listed monuments, historical buildings and site) and cultural environments is positively associated with the growth in human capital. They also find that there are two types of natural qualities that are significant and robust in explaining growth in human capital, e.g., average temperature and the local supply of recreational areas (preserved natural areas). These results suggest that cultural heritage constitutes an important place-based resource in Sweden with the potential to improve regional attractiveness. These results also lend support to prior studies that use measures such as temperature or the number of sunny days to capture the breadth and diversity of amenities (Glaeser and Kahn 2010). Moreover, when we address interaction effects among the inputs, we find that it is only the slope of the coefficient of cultural amenities, with regard to growth in human capital, which changes as the level of agglomeration changes. This reflects that valuations of such amenities are valued higher when located in agglomerated regions. These results contribute to a deeper understanding of the role played by built heritages and cultural environments and natural amenities as drivers of change in urban and rural Sweden and add the debate on amenity-led regional growth in important ways. Specifically, the novel finding that built heritage is an important attractor of high-skilled labor may strengthen their position in the local land use and policy decision process and provide incentives for local governments to engage in preservation efforts.
Open Access YES
DOI DOI: 10.1007/s10824-016-9289-2
Search Database Researcher knowledge
Technique Statistical analysis; Spatial analysis
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